Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gnocchi with Pink Vodka Sauce

Today, I'm sharing how I prepared my homemade gnocchi, and I think this would be kind of an amazing dish to prepare for Valentine's Day (which is just one week away). I think this dish is pretty impressive, since homemade gnocchi is kind of a show stopper (at least in my book). Plus, Italian food was voted most romantic cuisine (along with French food, according to Opentable), so you can totally set the mood with this meal.

I decided to keep it simple and just jazzed up my basic tomato sauce. I was inspired by a dish I had recently, which was fettuccine with a creamy and cheesy tomato sauce with prosciutto and peas. So, I basically grabbed the major elements of that dish - the creamy tomato sauce, prosciutto, and peas - added in a bit of vodka for flare and flavor, and grated the cheese on top for presentation. Shall we begin?

Ingredients [serves 4 - can easily be halved to serve 2]:
4 cups gnocchi (about 1 lb)
2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup prosciutto (thinly sliced) - I know that giving a volume is a weird way to define prosciutto so I'll also say that 1/8 lb is probably a decent amount
1/2 cup fresh peas
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
+ freshly grated cheese (optional)
First things first, measure out the vodka and set it aside.

Then, stack the prosciutto together and cut it up into ribbons and cut across the ribbons to make little squares. If you piled these little pieces into a measuring cup, it would be about 1/4 cup.
Heat up a large skillet with some olive oil and then add in the prosciutto. Let it sizzle in the oil and crisp up. Once it's crispy, add in the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
Now comes the fun part! Remove the pan from the heat (or turn off the heat altogether, if you have a gas stove) and then pour in the vodka. Don't stir or anything! Just use a lighter to ignite the alcohol vapors and let the flames flicker away for a few minutes until they completely die down. If you're cooking this meal for your significant other (or even your friends or family members), this is a fun time to invite them into the kitchen to show off your pyro-chef skills.
Here's a little (poor quality) video I shot of the flames. Action!
Once all that excitement is over, add in the peas and a splash of cream and stir to make a pretty pink sauce.
Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, salt it, and then cook the gnocchi. They should all sink to the bottom at first but once they're cooked through, they should float - and that's how you'll know that they're done.
Drain the cooked gnocchi and add it to the pan. Give it a stir and it's ready to serve.
Here's what it looks like when it's steamy and lovely!
If you like cheese, I recommend grating a bit of parmesan or asiago on top.
And then dig in to reward yourself for all that hard work and showmanship!
Here's the recipe page for you:

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